Environmental and Planning Information
Consultation is an important element of the Environmental Impact Assessment process.
Irish Water held a public consultation period from 1st June to 15 July 2022, inviting comment and submissions from stakeholders, the public and interested parties on the Scoping Report for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Natura Impact Statement (NIS) relating to the Castletroy WWTP upgrade project.
Feedback was welcomed regarding the potential environmental impact of the project, the proposed scope of work, and methodologies to be applied in the development of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and NIS for the project. A screening process identified the need for an Appropriate Assessment (AA) which will be undertaken concurrently with the EIA, with both processes clearly distinguished.
An AA is an assessment of the potential adverse effects of a plan or project (in combination with other plans or projects) on Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs). These sites are protected by both Irish and EU Law.
The EIAR will demonstrate how environmental and technical surveys and studies along with consultations have influenced the development of the design. It will also evaluate any potential impacts and identify appropriate prevention/alleviation measures.
The EIAR will present a description of the existing environment, assessment of the potential effects of the scheme, set out measures to avoid or reduce any adverse effects and identify any residual impacts. The impacts will be assessed and presented in line with the following environmental topics:
- Air Quality
- Cultural Heritage
- Human Health
- Land and Soils
- Landscape and Visual
- Noise and Vibration
- Major Accidents and Natural Disasters
- Material Assets
- Traffic and Transport
- Combination of the above impacts
The NIS will follow a set of procedures to consider the construction and operational impacts of the project in relation to European sites, which include SACs and SPAs.
The EIAR and NIS will accompany Irish Water’s planning application to An Bord Pleanála.
What is Strategic Infrastructure Development?
Strategic Infrastructure Development (SID) is generally described as development which is of strategic economic or social importance to Ireland, the region or local areas. This also includes development which would:
- Contribute significantly to meeting any of the objectives of the National Planning Framework;
- Contribute significantly to meeting any regional spatial and economic strategy for an area; or
- Have a significant effect on the area of more than one planning authority.
Planning applications for proposed SID are not submitted to the local planning authority but instead they are submitted directly to An Bord Pleanála for a decision.
Why could Castletroy WWTP be classed SID?
Pre-application discussions have been entered with An Bord Pleanála to determine whether the Castletroy WWTP upgrade project will be classified as Strategic Infrastructure Development (SID).
Certain large-scale developments are listed in the 7th Schedule of the Planning and Development Acts. These are developments that normally require Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and which the Board certifies as meeting certain criteria for SID after a pre-application consultation process.
The 7th schedule divides developments into different categories and types of development. Environmental Infrastructure is one such category and includes projects relating to Waste Water Treatment Plants for more than 10,000 people.
The existing Castletroy WWTP treats the wastewater for a population equivalent of 45,000 so it falls under Environmental Infrastructure and requires an EIA for the proposed development. Therefore, it is expected to be considered SID and the planning application will be made directly to An Bord Pleanála.
All of the relevant project information has been submitted to An Bord Pleanála and formal decision will be issued in due course.